Richland XC Invitational is proving ground

RICHLAND – For one of the few times this year, Oroville’s Sierra Speiker didn’t win a cross country race, or challenge the winner.

Nonetheless, the Hornet junior proved she is quite capable of running with the best. Speiker finished eighth at the Richland Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 6, in an event that divided up its high school runners into three divisions.

Speiker pulled off her finish while running against well over 100 athletes from Class 4A, 3A and Oregon Class 5A schools. A  handful of runners from 2A Cheney were the only others to come out of anything smaller than the very largest school classifications.

“This was the race for the Big Dogs,” said Oroville coach Doug Kee. “It included last year’s 3A and 4A Champs along with many of the other top runners in Washington and Oregon. Sierra ran great … in the toughest field of runners I’ve ever seen.”

Speiker finished with a time of 18:54.98 in the full 5K race, finishing in the secondary pack that didn’t stay with the top two finishers. North Central (Spokane)’s won the race in 17:16.53.

“I believe this is the biggest regular season meet we’ve ever attended,” Kee said. “Overall there were nearly 1400 runners competing!”

Speiker posted the 24th fastest time statewide (18:45) this season on Sept. 22 in Spokane. She has the fasted 1B/2B time of the year by nearly 30 seconds and has a top six time in every classification but 4A.

Other Hornets also ran in the invitational in divisions more suited to their experience level and school size.

Competing for the girls were Callie Barker (39th, season-best 23:56.27), Lisa Hartvig (52nd, 24:25.91), Aya Cruspero (132nd, 27:01.21) and Celene Cisneros (169th, 29:20.07).

“It was Callie’s best time on a very tough course,” Kee said. “Aya took five minutes off the time from her last race (and) Celene has improved her time every week this season even when the course is harder and longer.”

Running for the boys were Diego Santana (159th, 20:32.01) and Ronel Kee (171st, 22:21.65).

“Both ran their best times of the year,” Kee said.

The Hornets host their home invitational on Oct. 13 on the shores of Lake Osoyoos in Veterans Memorial Park

Full meet results